[Course 32 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.icgrace.org
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Earlene Bown
Transcribers: Sharon Farris, Rita Joyce, Erma Kummerer, Fred Pekkonen

Prayer-School Course #32

Grace and Christian Values

By Rodney Hogue

Lesson 15
Extravagant Worship

By way of quick reivew, I am using the word "grace" as an acronym in this teaching series to identify five values that are universal to the church. The "G" stands for "God's Presence" and our pursuit of Him. We talked about that in lessons 1 to 4. The "R" stands for "Restoration of Souls," and we talked about that in lessons 5 to 8. "A" stands for "Advancing God's Kingdom," and we talked about that in lessons 9 to 11. "C" stands for "Character Based Leadership," and we talked about that in lessons 12 to 14. The last letter, "E," stands for "Extravagant worship," and that is what we will talk about now.

What is worship? Worship is anything we do to give honor and glory to God. It is our giving of our love to our God. Worship is anything we do in our life to give honor to God. The word "worship" means the act of admiring, esteeming, honoring, magnifying, exhorting, respecting, and revering. It is man responding to God with awe and submission and respect. Worship is man responding to God with honor and respect. In its broadest context, worship is anything that we do to give honor to God.

We tend to think of worship in terms of music and singing, but it is much broader than that. Let me give you a few examples of other forms of worship. When you live a life of sacrifice every day as you are walking in righteousness and holiness, you are worshipping God. Just in your lifestyle you worship God. Giving can be worship when you give obediently and sacrificially. It is an act of worship because you are giving it to honor and glorify God. And a lifestyle of sacrificial prayer can be worship. Some times we meet early in the morning to pray and sometimes we meet late at night. You will see praying going on. There is a lifestyle of prayer, which is an act of worship.

Of course, extravagant praise is also part of worshipping God. We come together in songs and to worship God, giving Him a sacrifice of our hearts in extravagant praise! When God made us, He made us to do that. Look at Luke 19:38-40. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, all of His followers were praising Him. The Pharisees got upset and said that it wasn't right for them to praise Him like that. Jesus responded to that by saying, "I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!" (verse 40). Putting it into modern English what Jesus said was, "If these guys don't praise Me, the rocks will cry out!" All nature is geared toward worshipping the Creator. God put it within us.

Everybody worships something. God put it in us to worship something; everyone has their gods. God put that thing within us.

Corporate worship at church can be an extravagant expression of worship, and we are not to be ashamed of it. It's just who we are. It may feel a little different, but it is a part of who we are. God created us to worship Him.

Psalms 95:1-7 says, "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care."

Something within you is crying out for this; something within you wants to worship. This is the cry that is within you. When you look around, you see the greatness of His creation and all that God has done. You see His handy-work. God designed you for this -- you are built to worship Him. He built you to be an extravagant worshipper.

Extravagant worship is God-focus, not man-focus. When we get together to worship, we corporately put our focus upon Him -- not us!

Sometimes someone may say, "I just didn't get anything out of church today." What does that mean? As a pastor, I have a response to that: Let me give you a biblical principle about giving and receiving. Luke 6:38 says, "Give and it shall be given unto you, good measures pressed down, shaken together, running into your lap, for by your standard of measure it will be measured back to you." This is a biblical principle that says as you give you will receive. So when you say, "I didn't get anything out of church today," what does that mean in terms of what you had put into it? If you give unto the Lord in the midst of worship, do you think you may receive? Those who did not get anything out of the service did not put anything in; because when you give something, you will receive.

There is a mentality people have when they come to church. Some people go to church to receive, others to be entertained, and others come to be fed. In each of these, there is a basic thinking that they are the center of this: "This is for me." Well, it is not for you -- it is for Him! The reciprocal effect comes in play that whenever you give unto Him, it comes back to you. So, when you give in church, you are going to receive. So when you say, "I didn't get anything out of church today," I am worried that the day will come when God will also say, "I didn't get anything out of church today." Why? Because the odds are that you didn't give anything.

Our worship is not to be man-focused; it is to be God-focused. The simple fact is that entertainment doesn't work well in the house of God. I am not against special music, but it is kind of hard for true worshipppers to sit back and watch somebody do something and not get involved with worship. We don't have much by way of solos or special numbers in our church service because we don't want anything to take away our attention from God. We don't want to give attention to singers, musicians, and leaders. We just want to give Glory to God -- not to man. It is all for Him.

The object of our worship is pursuing intimacy with our Lord. He is our Abba Father; He is our Daddy, as the word of God describes it. Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need." The objective of worship is to draw near to God; it is eventually to get into the Holy of Holies.

The temple has a basic pattern. We see it in the tabernacle that Moses built and in the temple that Solomon built. It had three compartments: we have the outer court where everybody comes, the inner court or "Holy Place" (not everyone comes in here), and there is the Holy of Holies, a small compartment. This is where God is. Now we don't have a physical temple any more. We are a spiritual temple, so we can enter into that inner chamber where God is. Our objective in corporate worship is to get you to enter into the Holy of Holies. We can enter into this place called the Holy of Holies, so our objective is to get you from the outer court into the inner court, and then into the Holy of Holies. It is a challenge.

What do you bring to church on Sunday? Do you bring all of your problems and all of your issues and all your struggles? If so, when you enter into church, you have to sift through it -- the fight you had in the car, etc. If you have all that junk with you, then when you get in the church, you can't rush right into the Holy of Holies. You have to sift through some things. We don't just jump right into the Holy of Holies. But the goal of corporate worship in the service is to take you there step by step. You put down all of those things and you begin to focus on God. And you begin to draw near to Him, to approach Him, to move from the outer court into the inner count and finally into the Holy of Holies.

Psalm 100 says to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. That means that we begin to move from whatever distraction we came in with to the place of where God is. Most of the songs we sing at the beginning of a service are outer courts songs. The songs we sing get us ready to go into the inner courts. We kind of step in and step out. The worship part of the service is trying to get you in the inner court. This is the place we want to get you, where it is just you and Daddy. When we get together in worship we don't want to stay in the outer court. Looking at songs: you will have inner court songs, outer court songs, and Holy of Holies songs. Songs about God -- rather than to Him -- these are all outer courts songs. Even in the hymn book there are few inner-court songs, because they are singing about God rather than to Him. Inner Court songs are songs like, "I Love You Lord," where our objective is to get into intimacy with the Lord. The ultimate purpose of worship is intimacy with God.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

[Course 32 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]